• Italy's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Amnesty slams Italy for migrant care

The Local · 25 Feb 2015, 11:48

Published: 25 Feb 2015 11:48 GMT+01:00

While recognizing Italy’s efforts to save boat migrants in the Mediterranean last year - over 170,000 arrived in the country last year - Amnesty said concerns remain over lives lost and the treatment of survivors.

“The government’s decision to stop a dedicated operation to save lives at sea, Mare Nostrum, at the end of October raised concerns that the death toll could increase significantly,” the human rights organization said in its annual report.

Mare Nostrum was replaced by the EU’s Triton operation, which patrols just a fraction of the area Italian authorities covered. As Amnesty feared, the death toll has increased, with more than 300 feared drowned in just a matter of days earlier this month.

READ MORE: 300 feared drowned trying to reach Italy

The organization stated that there had been “no progress” in investigating a shipwreck in October 2013, in which over 200 people drowned. Not noted in the report were the numerous criminal cases against people traffickers, most recently the 30-year sentence against a Somali man who raped and attacked migrants.

READ MORE: Trafficker jailed for 30 years for raping migrants

As depleted rescue efforts go on in the Mediterranean, Amnesty criticized Italy for failing “to ensure adequate reception conditions for the high number of seaborne refugees and migrants”. Immigration centres across Italy are full, prompting the government to make use of empty buildings such as schools to house newcomers.

On arrival, migrants reported “excessive use of force” while being identified by Italian authorities, following a government decision to allow police to use force to collect fingerprints.

Many migrants avoid being identified in order to travel onwards and seek asylum in other European countries.

Amnesty also highlighted the plight of children, saying that unaccompanied minors did not receive adequate protection in Italy.

Beyond their immediate arrival, refugees and asylum-seekers in Italy “remained at risk of destitution” in 2014. Migrant workers, meanwhile, “continued to be exploited and remained vulnerable to abuse”, unable to access justice.

Roma facing exclusion

In its broader analysis of human rights in Italy, Amnesty pinpointed the continued “discrimination against Roma” as a cause for alarm.

“Thousands of Roma families continued to live in poor conditions in segregated camps and centres, including more than 4,000 in Rome alone,” the organization said.

Members of the community continued to face forced evictions across Italy last year, while the Roma community remained “excluded from accessing social housing”. This is a reflection of the government’s failure to implement its National Strategy for the Inclusion of Roma, Amnesty said.

Story continues below…

READ MORE: Rome's slum dwellers demand proper homes

The European Commission has also expressed its concerns, last year launching an inquiry into whether Italy has broken EU rules on race equality.

Rather than shut the Roma camps set up in Italy, the government in December cleared one in the Italian capital and moved residents out. Families were not offered adequate housing alternatives and continue to live in “inadequate conditions”, Amnesty said.

The human rights organization also touched upon other problems in Italy, such as “the lack of accountability for deaths in custody” and overcrowding in prisons. There has been some progress in these areas, although substantial shortfalls remain.  

SEE ALSO: Amnesty slams Austria’s treatment of prisoners

For more news from Italy, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Forty children drown as shipwrecks claim up to 700
A migrant boat capsizing last week. Photo: Courtesy of Marina Militare

A week of shipwrecks and death in the Mediterranean culminated Sunday with harrowing testimony from migrant survivors who said another 500 people including 40 children had drowned, bringing the number of feared dead to 700.

Dozens missing in fresh migrant shipwreck: rescuers
Dozens more migrants are reported missing after a fishing boat sank on Friday. Photo: AFP

The Italian coastguard is searching for survivors after an overloaded fishing boat sank off the coast of Libya.

'Racist' Chinese ad causes outrage...but Italy did it first
Screengrab: Qiaobi/YouTube

A TV advert for a Chinese laundry detergent has been widely condemned, with commentators saying it’s the most racist ad to ever be screened. But hang on, a similar one was made in Italy...

Alicia Keys to sing live at Milan Champions League final
Alicia Keys will become the first person to sing live at a Champions League final. Photo: Stephen Brashear/Getty Images/AFP

The final will be held at Milan's San Siro stadium on Saturday.

Crew who sunk with WWII sub 'wanted to be found': relative
The wreck of the P311. Photo: Massimo Domenico Bondone

People were stunned by the discovery of a body-filled, Second World War-era submarine off the coast of Sardinia earlier this week, not least Paul Denison, who told The Local his great-uncle was among the 71 who perished on board.

Man can pay ex-wife's alimony with pizza, Italian court rules
A court in Padua has ruled in favour of a divorced father who pays alimony to his ex-wife in the form of pizza. Photo: Erich Ferdinand/Flickr

Every family's needs are different...

Iconic photos of Hiroshima horror go on show in Rome
Ken Domon at work. Photo: Wikimedia commons

It is the first time the works have gone on display outside Japan.

Why the average ancient Roman worker was dead by 30
The research paints a grim picture of the dangers faced by ancient Roman workers . Photo: Carla Caladarini

The average Roman worker suffered several broken bones, had arthritis at 20 and was dead by 30.

Video
Over 100 feared dead in new migrant boat tragedies in Med
An image taken of Wednesday's migrant shipwreck. Photo: Marina Miltare

Over 100 migrants were feared dead on Thursday after two crowded boats capsized off Libya in separate incidents, with one of the tragedies captured on video that shows dramatic rescues and desperate final moments.

Italian man lay dead in flat for 5 years before anyone noticed
The man's body was found at his home in Cagliari, Sardinia. Photo: Simon Frost

"Nobody questioned his disappearance, nobody went looking for him."

Did a Nazi official save Ponte Vecchio from destruction?
National
How the brutal murder of an anti-mafia hero altered Sicily
Travel
These are the best beaches within easy reach of Rome
National
Why Italians are falling out of love with the EU
Sponsored Article
Eat, learn, live: unforgettable holidays in France
Business & Money
Foreign, female and a self-made success in arduous Italy
National
How Italy's richest region is feeling the migrant strain
Culture
Rome mulls 'metro museum' after new line unearths ruin
National
Why Italy's facing a birth rate apocalypse
National
Why talk of barriers is opening up old wounds in South Tyrol
Culture
Huge Roman villa found under Amalfi church set to open
Travel
Two men kicked off plane in what captain calls 'racist act'
Meet the expats making a career out of Italian food
Society
'Staying single is why I'm the world's oldest person'
Travel
Where can you find the best beaches in Italy?
The ultimate guide to the insanity of driving in Italy
Travel
Eight of Rome's most tantalizing foreign food gems
Migrant arrivals in Italy top 30,000 for 2016: navy
Italy’s deadliest earthquakes over the last 100 years
Travel
US passports now need six months validity for Italy
Travel
Six incredible ways Italy profoundly changed my life
Society
Cheese, wine and family: the Italian way to live beyond 100
2,520
jobs available